Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

December 15, 2017

Beach Walk – Newport Beach

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:02 am

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Seaweed, Newport Beach, December 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Last weekend I had a chance to leisurely walk the beach in a California State Park located just outside of Newport Beach, CA. This was a little confirmation that I still find myself drawn to creating black & white photographic images.

Although resembling a study with a view camera, most of this image and subsequent processing was completed with my Samsung S5 and SnapSeed. Today I did a little more contrast tweaking in Photoshop to tease out a bit more of the flow lines in the sand created by the receding surf. I was intrigued by the found-art design of the way the seaweed was naturally positioned by the surf. Serendipity that I took advantage of with my framing of the composition and subsequently working with the black and white conversion.

As a lark, I also added the “film” border to provide more of that Edward Weston view camera look. Very modern! (hopefully hints at being contemporary, but I doubt it)

Cheers!

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December 4, 2017

MoPLA theme: Political Satire

Filed under: Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:03 am

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Middle Ground, San Diego, June, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I have been giving some thought to a MoPLA (Month of Photography Los Angeles) submission for my Middle Ground project. Which I need to sort out quickly as the deadline is December 5th. Yikes!

One submission category is Host Space Exhibitions and for that submission it requires: “a thematic body of work for exhibition consideration in one of our host spaces”.  Which bumps into an aspect of my Middle Ground project that I had not really considered before; what is is this thematic body of work?

Middle Ground investigates attempts by somebody in our government to construct something that leads to social alienation for America, a barrier situated between two countries, but I am not sure that “social alienation” is a theme but rather the subject of my project. Some classic themes are: the nude, urban landscape, portraiture, nature, culture, history, countries, abstract patterns, poetic, etc. Interestingly politics is a theme does arise on a few theme lists.

Thus thinking that Middle Ground‘s theme is political satire. So I will try to get some quick feedback on Facebook (and here if you would like to comment) in the next day or so to see if this might fly.

Second part of this submission is the openness of MoPLA curators to political satire? That I may not know for sure, but I am ready to try and find out.

Cheers!

 

August 7, 2017

Solving “Crunchy” photographs

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:18 am

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Seaweed, San Clemente beach, June 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

A month ago I was discussing about my on-going summer beach series that I was posting on Instagram and when I was looking at the resulting print from this post, it appeared kind of “crunchy” (below). The foreground where the seaweed was has some odd halos and the I think the image was not smooth and continuous looking, especially as I was printing the image at 11 x 11″ and 15 x 15″.

In thinking about this I realized that on my monitor the photograph looked fine, but when I was saving it to a jpeg, I have a practice of adding one more un-sharpening to account for the softening by the jpeg conversion. Since this is a Samsung image, perhaps the last un-sharpening, which was not an issue for a Canon 5DMk3 image file, could be problematic for the these smaller files?

In returning to the original PS image and then repeating the steps to save the image as a jpeg but this time without sharpening & then subsequently reopening the file; presto! No crunchy image without halos! I had fallen victim to mindless file sharpening. So lessons learned (yes, also a re-do on some similar recent Samsung photo images)

Just to make sure you are not thinking that all of the visual changes between the two images is due to just not sharpening I also made some other image modifications. I decided that the soft blur effect in Snapseed for the photo below was also a bit over the top, as this was when I was still experimenting with this effect and I applying it a bit strong. Nevertheless I liked the softening effect of the pier to keep the viewer interacting with the seaweed and breaking surf. So for the image above, I added a slight Gaussian blur to the top third of the image to soften the pier. Last I reduced the overall contrast of the photograph while still attempting to keep a slight overcast appearance.

Cheers!

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July 6, 2017

Seaweed, San Clemente beach

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:49 am

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Seaweed, San Clemente beach, June 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

One of my recent experiment/fun projects has been to investigate photographic possibilities at the beach, which regretfully as a genre is a mine field of cliche photographs. So rather run from the obvious as I attempt to skirt around these cliches, the rather wonderful aspect of my process is if I am seduced into taking a photograph that appears to borders on cliche, just take it anyway! No worries! Who knows what might come of it?

I was intrigued by the abstract pattern of these three seaweed pieces that had recently washed ashore. The shore break of the surf was not that large and I could see a series of interesting patterns of surf and residuals as the tide receded. The colors were muted by the overcast sky thus the resulting photograph would be a bit more manageable as I converted this to a black & white image.

So I took a series of images of this composition as the surf broke on the beach and selected this one that seemed to best exemplify the potential abstract surf patterns. I also framed the image to include the distant San Clemente pier as another visual element anticipating that it was going to be out of focus that it might create a bit of visual push/pull and potential mystery.

One of the disadvantages of Snapseed for the initial image processing for posting on Instagram (@douglasstockdale) is the limited black and white conversion options. Nevertheless I think I was pretty close on my initial try and subsequently received a really good response on Instagram, enough to want me to further investigate the black & white conversion with Photoshop. This is the resulting photograph and in line with pre-visualization.

Available as a limited edition archival pigment print. Email me for current pricing for sizes and shipping of this photograph print.

 

June 19, 2017

Fathers Day & remembering Dad

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:42 pm

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Two rods, Newport Beach, June 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

This past weekend was Father’s Day, a time to celebrate Dads and for some of us, to remember their Dad’s who are no longer with us. In my case it was the later as my Dad had passed almost thirty years ago. Yesterday in honor of Father’s Day I posted the above photo that I had taken a earlier on the Newport Beach pier as part of my experiment/play process. At the time that I took the photo and then subsequently tweaked it I had not really given much thought to the metaphoric potential. Until I posted it on Instagram and starting spent a little more time thinking about this image.

So what I realized is that these two fishing rods could represent the current state of me and my dad. Both of us like to fish, he much more than I every will, with the fishing rod on the right going out of focus and appearing to become fainter and harder to make out the details. Which I realized is part of my memory process over the last thirty years I have lost many details about our time spent together. Although these details and experiences are becoming harder to recall he still is a presence however faint he has become. Which was why this weekend this photograph became important to me.

Sometimes I do not recognize the serendipity of my creative works until later, but for me better late than never.

I hope you all had a wonderful time with your father’s and dad’s this weekend and if they are still around cherish the time you still have together.

Cheers!

May 24, 2017

Passionate about Photography

Filed under: Art, Art Market, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:43 pm

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Surf Fishing, San Clemente Beach 2016, copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

While I continue to work on my workshop agenda for the LACP Marketing Your Photo Book, I was reminded about a brand focusing process I used for my consulting company many years ago. The methodology has the unlikely name of Hedgehog Concept and when researchers were trying to figure out why certain companies were much better than others that one essential element is the best companies developed relatively simple (if not seemingly boring) business strategies and then stuck to it.

One important aspect of developing a personal Hedgehog Concept is the self-realization of what a person is passionate about. This is not something that I am good at or competent at but really passionate about in a way that I am compulsive. Which in this case I am compulsive about using photography and photographs to create artwork as an artist. I stopped photographing about 1985 to draw and paint and then eventually returned back to photography as I found really missing this aspect of what I was doing creatively. So this is a high level concept that does not really differentiate me from many other artist.

Within my artist practice I also find I get compulsive while working on conceptual projects that once I am engaged it is hard for me to get un-engaged. I continued to take road side memorial photographs for almost six years after this project published was in LensWork. I kept finding myself looking for these memorials and then when I did find one trying to figure out the best time to photograph it. There a lot fewer artist who get compulsive and work on the same conceptual subject for years at a time.

Regarding compulsive projects it also appears that I become more compulsive about the project when I realize it investigates some aspect of memory and its preservation. I know that my reasons to continually focus on this type of subject are unique to me as to why this is an important concept to investigate. Nevertheless, I do understand that many artist are investigating aspects of memory as this seems to be a “popular” genre at the moment.

One thing that I am still going back and forth about: am I compulsive in creating black & white photographs? This may could be a critical aspect of what drives my artistic practice as I do keep coming back to converting color photographs to black & white photographs. I really, really enjoy creating black & white images such as the one in this post. The harsh reality, thinking back to the previous post, is that museums and galleries look at black & white photograph as being Modern/Classic (dated & old fashion) while most “Contemporary” exhibitions embrace color images. Which means I need to think about this aspect some more ;- )

Cheers!

 

May 21, 2017

Reflective weekend – May 21, 2017

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 7:47 pm

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San Clemente Beach May 2016, copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

This was not a great weekend. Earlier in week I was not feeling great, but Thursday evening and Friday morning I seemed to be over what-ever-it-was. But what-ever-it-was came back to bite me Friday afternoon and only this morning did it seem I was getting on the mend. I suspect it was strep throat. sigh. I have been drinking so much hot tea that I keep track of by the kettle-fulls, not by the cups. Even sipping a cup while I write this.

So in between some long naps, I have been thinking about my photography and my art. Seems that I have wondered into being more of an artist than a photographer with my second artist book Bluewater Shore. Which has a lot to do with the fact that I used someone else’s photographs as a source material versus the fact that I did not take the actual photographs. This appears to be a bigger deal for a lot of other photographers, galleries, photo magazines and now collectors. At the moment I just need to think about this some more, but it does create a shift in my/others perception.

The photograph above was something that I had energy to play with this weekend between my various naps; initially this was a very straight photo but after posting my earlier Experiment/play urban landscape, I decided to apply some of the same SnapSeed magic to this image. It’s a combination of desaturation of the colors and some refined Lens Blur filter. I feel it definitely changes the feeling that this photograph now evokes. Interesting. Btw, I made the original just about this same time last year but added the current copyright date to reflect that I created this new edition recently.

So that’s all the energy I have for now, perhaps time for either another cup of tea or a nap (or both in quick succession!)

Cheers!

 

May 18, 2017

Life Guard Station #14 – San Clemente

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:00 am

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Life Guard Station #14, San Clemente, CA, May 2017, copyright Douglas Stockdale

The same day this month that I captured the gradations beach photo on San Clemente beach that I discussed here, I also photographed the adjacent Life Guard Station #14. In fact I believe that the earlier beach photograph was captured in front of this Guard station.

These are relatively two different photographic image treatments, although both share a similar frontal and formal framing. As the occasion was at dusk, the Life Guard Station was closed down for the evening, thus has a somber, if not lonely, air about it and the beach was without the throngs of beach-goers. But being a man-built structure this does hint at the surrounding beach-oriented culture.

I think the shallow dept of field places more emphasis on this structure rather than the breaking surf in the background. There is still enough environmental context provided while yet still being ambiguous (and hopefully a little mystery) to allow a viewer an opportunity to create their own stories and recall similar memories.

Btw, the subtle differences between the two modified images has me thinking about how I document events and the subsequent treatments applied to the images. Perhaps because I am doing some mentoring for other photographers now and I need to consider my own advice regarding how one creates their own “Brand”. So I suspect I will be writing more about that in the months to come.

Cheers!

May 17, 2017

Experiment-play – LA landscape

Filed under: Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:00 am

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Los Angeles, I-5 Freeway, March 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While driving up the I-5 Freeway into Los Angeles earlier this year, I was again finding myself in the bump-to-bumper traffic grind common for this part of Southern California. So similar to my bumper-to-bumper photographs in my recent drives to San Diego, I used the opportunity that when I came to a complete stop to take a photo of the adjacent landscape. So the resulting urban landscape photographs are a combination of serendipity and chance, something that the Surrealist would appreciate.

The resulting photographs from this day-shoot lay dormant, but I kept coming back to this photographic set as there was something there that retained my interest. Over this last weekend I found myself working on one of the photographs and the results are posted above. This photograph is in line with my idea of experiment-play in which I give myself a lot of freedom to visually experiment.

There is a bit of artistic manipulation of the image, but not too far visually off what might be possible with a long lens from a distance further back while using a wide open (shallow depth of field) aperture. So it’s kinda of “realistic” and might pass as a “straight” photograph. Nevertheless I posted this on Instagram and was somewhat impressed by the big response as measured by the amount of likes.

For me, I have moved beyond a straight document of the landscape to something more personal, perhaps a little more ambiguous, a touch of mystery and that has some metaphoric potential. As Sara Terry said about my Memory Pods project, I have made this subject my own. It has my imprint on it. (Okay, what does that mean? Good question as I am not sure yet, but this idea has my wheels turning)

So this has me thinking some more about my other freeway photographs that I have taken over the years in which I might want to reconsider what a straight or documentary style image should look like. Or perhaps better yet, what is my take on LA and how should I interpret this urban landscape?

Cheers!

 

 

May 16, 2017

Gradations – San Clemente Beach

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:08 am

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San Clemente Beach, May 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

One of the delightful aspects of picking Ella up at the San Clemente train station is that the station is directly adjacent to the Pacific ocean. We are talking about only a few yards. Thus I normally volunteer to pick her up and then I leave early enough to spend a little time on the beach in the late afternoon to absorb the sights, smells and sounds of the ocean. And on many occasions, take a beach photo, which I realize is an overworked genre of landscapes (seascapes), but nevertheless I find this subject intriguing.

On this occasion with some weather coming in, I realized that I was visually captivated by the various gradations created by the layers of cloud, sea and surf breaking on the shore. I have some versions in which there is a small surf break rolling in, but I found that I preferred this photograph with the flatter water while the wave was in the early stages of forming. I am always fascinated by the ensuing temporal patterns created on the beach as the ocean water recedes.

For this photograph I also desaturated the colors towards a monotone gray-blue palette as this seemed better suited to what I was feeling at the moment, probably a bit of departure from those who might amp up the color saturation for instances such as this.

I also notice that I have been accumulating a collection of these pensive seascapes, so I will see where my muse leads me this ;- )

Cheers!

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